Carter leads Lady Hornets to third at Hot Springs
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
HOT SPRINGS — Jasmine Carter scored a career-high 22 points as the Bryant Lady Hornets bounced back from a close loss to Mount St. Mary’s to capture the third-place trophy at the Summit Bank Spa City Shootout with a 51-42 win over the Hot Springs Lakeside Lady Rams Saturday, Dec. 30.
The win evened Bryant’s record at 6-6 going into 7A-Central Conference action at Mount St. Mary’s on Friday, Jan. 5.
“I feel like it’s a good tournament to be 2-1,” commented head coach Blake Condley. “I’m pretty pleased with the progress we’ve made these last couple of weeks. We’ve improved a lot. I think our team chemistry just keeps getting better. The girls are working well together, working hard and if we can just keep getting better, we’ll see what we can do in conference.”
“I feel really good about going into conference,” Carter said. “We started out kind of being a not very together team. Now, I feel like we’ve gotten closer. We just have a lot better team unity. We’re coming together.”
The junior scored 16 of her points in the second half, sparking a 14-2 run that turned a 25-20 halftime advantage into a 39-22 bulge late in the third.
“I got really fired up in the second half,” she said. “The first half I was going kind of slow. It’s one of the best games I’ve had posting up. I’ve kind of been more of an outside player. Today, I got worked inside and I found a new part of my game I can work with now.”
“She’s got a real nice shot, a nice soft touch,” Condley assessed. “She can score when we really need a bucket. But she’s not being selfish. If they collapse on her, she’s kicking to the other girls and the other girls are hitting their shots. That’s what you’ve got to have. You need some balance and I feel like we’re coming around, we’re getting there.”
Brittany Mills added 9 points and, coming off the bench, Caitlin Cato and Anna Simpson each had 6 for Bryant.
But it was defense that keyed the win as the Lady Hornets held Lakeside without a field goal from the 3:44 mark of the second quarter until the opening minute of the fourth. All 10 of the Lady Rams’ points during that stretch came from the free throw line.
“We tried to really focus on our defense,” Condley acknowledged. “I know, at one point in the fourth quarter, we got to looking and they had only made about five field goals in the game. I know they made a couple more late but most of their points came from the free-throw line. If we can eliminate some of the fouls, not put them on the free-throw line, I feel like our defense is there.
“If we can continue to get some different girls scoring, so that teams can’t just key on one girl, that’s really going to help us in conference,” he added.
Lakeside held an early 6-2 lead but Amber Westbrook fed Carter for a layup then Carter made a steal and another lay-in to tie it. The game was tight for the rest of the half. When Cato hit her second jumper in the final minute of the quarter, Bryant had a 12-11 edge going into the second period.
The game was tied at 14 before Mills canned a 3. C.C. Witcher then hit a running jumper to make it 17-16. At that point, the Lady Hornets began to put the clamps on the Lakeside offense. Mills hit another 3 to give her team a 20-16 edge.
Karli Manning and Cato traded free throws then, following a Lakeside turnover, Brittany Grant fed sophomore Courtney Mosley for a basket that made it 24-18.
Manning hit two more free throws and Mosley converted one to make it 25-20 at the half.
Carter hit a free throw to start the second half. Her missed second shot was tapped out by Westbrook to Mills who got it back to Carter in the post. Her turnaround jumper made it 28-20.
Carter added another free throw and Sydney Simpson added a 3 to bump the lead to 12 before Lakeside managed a pair of free throws at the 5:33 mark. Carter hit a pair at the line and Mills buried a triple. Anna Simpson completed the game-breaking run with two at the line.
With six free throws in the final two minutes, Lakeside closed to within 39-28. Elizabeth Burke then finally ended the Lady Rams’ field-goal drought to start the fourth quarter, trimming the lead back to 9. But when Mosley scored and Carter hit a pair of free throws, the lead was never less than double digits until right at the end.
Along the way, the Lady Hornets pushed the lead back to 16 at one point and Condley took the opportunity to get some playing time for some of his reserves.